Braves to Broadcast New Series – “1995: Rise of the A”

Atlanta Braves to Broadcast New Series “1995: Rise of the A” Highlighting the Connection between the 1995 Braves and the Emergence of Atlanta’s Music Industry

The five-part series will air Sunday, May 3 on Braves YouTube


greathouse-trial-law-atlanta-music-festivals-headATLANTA (April 30, 2020) – The Atlanta Braves have created a five-part series entitled, “1995: Rise of the A” chronicling the relationship between the Braves World Series championship run in 1995 and the rise of the music and entertainment scene that shaped Atlanta’s culture today. The full series will be available beginning this Sunday, May 3 on Braves YouTube.

The series will cover a variety of topics from Atlanta’s emergence as an entertainment capital following 1995, to the Braves’ arrival in the hip-hop and fashion scene, with the team’s signature ‘A’ cap becoming a symbol for the city. Throughout the series, Braves Alumni, Atlanta influencers, and music executives will explore baseball’s role in shaping Atlanta’s culture today.

Several Braves players, alumni, Atlanta artists and entertainers appear in the series including Braves’ pitcher, Touki Toussaint, alumni David Justice, founding member of Outkast, Big Boi, member of Migos, Offset, Atlanta producer, Jermaine Dupri, rapper Big Gipp from Goodie Mob, and former record executive and Atlanta native, Shanti Das.

MLB: Play the 2020 Season In Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues?


KEVIN MCALPIN
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – It’s been one month since Spring Training came to a sudden halt as sports leagues dealt with the increasing threat of Coronavirus. Over the last four weeks, a handful of proposals have popped up with ideas on how to start the MLB season, most of which haven’t made a whole lot of sense. But, late last week, Bob Nightengale posted a story suggesting the possibilities of eliminating the traditional American and National Leagues in favor of the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues in both Arizona and Florida.

There’s a number of reasons why I like the latest idea. Right now, there’s no such thing as a bad idea. I like the fact that the League and Players Association are trying to get creative to find ways to make the 2020 season happen. And from some of those ideas, other more practical ideas should and likely will arise.

First and foremost, keeping travel at a minimum will likely be a big piece of this. I can only speak to the experience in Florida, but this spring, the travel was significantly easier and shorter. If this proposed idea was to move forward, the Braves would find themselves in a division with the Rays (25 minutes away in Port Charlotte), Orioles (40 minutes north in Sarasota) and Red Sox and Twins (both located in Fort Myers, less than an hour from North Port). In addition, the other two Grapefruit League divisions would also feature teams geographically less than an hour apart. Also, the facilities these teams have feature state of the art fitness centers, fields and clubhouses so most of the players now get all the comforts of home even if the park is one-fourth the size they play in their home cities.

Secondly, it’s completely different than anything we’ve seen before. Let’s be honest, we all hope to see a 2020 season start sooner than later. And, nothing about this season will be traditional. With NL and AL teams merging into different divisions, this could also pave the way for the universal DH, something that was likely going to happen when the new CBA is up following the 2021 season. I love it. It’s outside the box. It’s felt inevitable that this was going to happen at some point…why not start it a year or two early?!

I also like this idea way more than the one floated earlier in the week, regarding all 30 teams being quarantined in the Phoenix area. It felt like quite a reach to try and expect thousands of players, coaches, support staff, Front Office, etc. to all be under one roof and separated from their families for such a long period of time. Even if these games are played in empty stadiums, the thought of having the game back in the summer months is one that everyone is striving to find ways to make happen.

Will it happen? Only time will tell. But the fact that both sides are talking, trying to come up with creative ways to get the boys of summer back on the field in a safe manner should have everyone encouraged that we could hear them say “play ball” in the next few months. One thing is for certain, keeping a running diary or journal of everything we experience when the games do return will be something books and movies will be written about. Until then, I’m excited to see what other ideas and suggestions arise from both sides of the aisle.

@KevinMcAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and the @BravesRadioNet.

Join Us For the “Braves At Home Opener!”

Braves At Home Opener


FILE – In this June 19, 2019, file photo, Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (5) celebrates in the dugout after hitting a two-run home run in the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets in Atlanta.(AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

Braves fans, we’re bringing baseball to you at home. Join us this evening as we celebrate Atlanta Braves baseball on the original date of our home opener with the Braves “At Home” Opener which will include exclusive interviews and elements of your favorite gameday entertainment like:

  • Interviews with Freddie Freeman, Manager Brian Snitker and General Manager Alex Anthopoulos
  • A special National Anthem performed by Timothy Miller
  • The Home Depot Tool Race, RaceTrac’s Beat the Freeze, and more!

Tune in on Braves YouTube, Facebook and Los Bravos Facebook starting at 5:30 p.m. ET today! Then tune in to Fox Sports South at 7 p.m. ET for a replay of last year’s home opener against the Chicago Cubs.

Braves pitcher Mike Soroka joins Chuck and Chernoff

FILE – Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Mike Soroka delivers in the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets, Monday, June 17, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore – FILE)

Chuck and Chernoff are joined by Atlanta Braves Pitcher Mike Soroka and we all catch up on what the Braves Pitcher is doing during the  “COVID-19 Baseball Offseason.”

BRAVES COMMENT ON BILL BARTHOLOMAY PASSING


FILE – Braves Chairman Bill Bartholomay (Left) and Ted Turner (Right) talking with the press after Turner bought the Braves from the Atlanta-LaSalle Corporation on Jan. 7, 1976. (FILE – AP PHOTO / Charles E. Kelly)

ATLANTA, GA – There is baseball in Atlanta today because of Bill Bartholomay. Affectionately known as “Mr. B.”, Bartholomay was instrumental in bringing people together and fostering diversity while helping shape Atlanta as a major city in the south when he relocated the Braves from Milwaukee to Atlanta in 1966. His warmth and grace were felt equally by Presidents, MLB Commissioners, business titans, Braves players and fans.

He was a true gentleman, who served on a variety of MLB committees over the course of decades and is widely regarded as one of the great influencers of the game during the modern era.  Mr. B was inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame in 2002 for his role in making the Braves a storied franchise with his constant presence since moving the team to Atlanta.

He was part of our organization for the last 57 years and never missed an Opening Day or significant event. He was a dear, thoughtful friend whose presence will be missed, but his legacy will surely stand the test of time for the Atlanta Braves and all of baseball. We send our deepest sympathies and condolences to his children Virginia, Bill, Jamie, Betsy and Sally, his grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Atlanta Braves Foundation – creating a relief fund to help gameday workers


ATLANTA (March 17, 2020) – It was announced earlier today, that all 30 Major League Baseball teams will donate $1 million to assist thousands of ballpark staff impacted by the delayed start of 2020 MLB season due to the COVID19 pandemic.

The Atlanta Braves, through the Atlanta Braves Foundation, are creating a special disaster relief fund to help gameday workers and certain other affected members of our baseball community with special financial needs that may come up before Braves baseball begins, and will position the club to support our baseball family and our communities in the coming weeks and months.

“We are in an uncertain time and want to help our gameday staff who truly make Truist Park feel like home,” said Terry McGuirk, Atlanta Braves Chairman. “Our gameday staff are part of our family and they are the reason for our friendly and welcoming atmosphere.  So, in this time of need, we want to do our part and help them.”

Fans throughout Braves Country have expressed a desire to help as well, and with this fund they can assist too by going to www.braves.com/relief to donate to this specific fund.

The Braves also intend to provide certain relief assistance for ballpark workers at each of the Minor League Baseball facilities the Braves operate, including the Gwinnett Stripers, Mississippi Braves, Rome Braves and Danville Braves.  Additionally, gameday staff at CoolToday Park will be paid for the canceled spring training games.

Details on the implementation are still being formalized to ensure we maximize the need to coordinate with state and local laws as well as collective bargaining obligations to maximize the benefits for each affected group. The organization will communicate directly to the affected staff with those details in the coming days/weeks.

The Braves thoughts continue to be with our community as we navigate this together.

The Braves, MLB & Coronavirus – One Week Later…

BY KEVIN MCALPIN
ATLANTA, GA – One week ago, the Braves were getting ready to take on the Red Sox at CoolToday Park in North Port. That was the night Major League Baseball announced that clubhouses would be closing to the media in an effort to help curb the spread of COVID-19. In the last seven days, Spring Trainings have abruptly shut down operations, leaving fans to wonder what’s next when it comes to the 2020 season. Obviously, the health and well being of everyone involved is the most important caveat here. On Monday afternoon, Major League Baseball announced the start of the Regular Season would be delayed in accordance to the new CDC recommendation restricting events of more than 50 people for at least the next eight weeks. This means that at the very best case scenario, we’d be looking at early to mid May, which still feels extremely optimistic at this point.

“MLB will keep fans updated on decisions regarding plans for the 2020 schedule in the days and weeks ahead” a statement from the League said today. “We will continue to monitor ongoing events and undertake the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts, and urge ball baseball fans to follow suit” the release added.

While the Commissioner’s Office has said they intend to play a full 162 game schedule, pushing everything back by at least two months will make that a nearly impossible feat to accomplish. Even with double headers or seven inning games, players will still need days off sprinkled in following extended stretches or travel east from the west coast. Also in play is the possibility of skipping the All-Star Break for the first time since World War II. These are certainly unprecedented times and speculating on when things could return to normal would be extremely premature at this point. As in last week, with things changing as rapidly as they are, we are once again left with far more questions than answers. But at the end of the day, what’s most important is the health and well being of everyone involved. Stay safe, friends.

@KevinMcAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and the @BravesRadioNet.

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL TO DELAY 2020 OPENING DAY BY AT LEAST TWO WEEKS


March 12, 2020
Spring Training Games Cancelled As of 4:00 p.m. (ET) Today and WBCQ Games Postponed; MLB Will Continue to Evaluate Ongoing Events and Effects on 2020 Scheduling
Following a call with the 30 Clubs, and after consultation with the Major League Baseball Players Association, Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. today announced that MLB has decided to suspend Spring Training games and to delay the start of the 2020 regular season by at least two weeks due to the national emergency created by the coronavirus pandemic. This action is being taken in the interests of the safety and well-being of our players, Clubs and our millions of loyal fans.
MLB will continue to evaluate ongoing events leading up to the start of the season. Guidance related to daily operations and workouts will be relayed to Clubs in the coming days. As of 4:00 p.m. (ET) today, forthcoming Spring Training games have been cancelled, and 2020 World Baseball Classic Qualifier games in Tucson, Arizona have been postponed indefinitely.
MLB and the Clubs have been preparing a variety of contingency plans regarding the 2020 regular season schedule. MLB will announce the effects on the schedule at an appropriate time and will remain flexible as events warrant, with the hope of resuming normal operations as soon as possible.
Nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our players, employees and fans. MLB will continue to undertake the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts. We send our best wishes to all individuals and communities that have been impacted by coronavirus.

Braves: Two Week Until The Regular Season Starts…Where Are We?

FILE- Atlanta Braves Executive Vice President and General Manager Alex Anthopoulos (left) and left-handed pitcher Will Smith, who just signed a three-year $39 million contract with a one year club option, take questions during a press conference introducing Smith at SunTrust Park on Tuesday, November 19, 2019, in Atlanta. (FILE – Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

KEVIN MCALPIN
NORTH PORT, FL- With the end of Spring Training in sight and the regular season now just two weeks away, the marquee roster battles over the last month have mainly focused on third base and the starting rotation. But there’s another area that could still be up for grabs over the next couple weeks and that is how the club will round out it’s bullpen. As of now, Will Smith stands as the lone left handed lock for the pen, but ideally, a second southpaw would be ideal to add to the mix. So let’s take a look at the most logical candidates for that final spot in the Atlanta pen:

AJ Minter – The 26 year old Minter has made 117 appearances at the Big League level over the last three seasons, but command has always been his Achilles heel. In 2019, Minter struck out 35 batters in 29.1 innings pitched, but over that span, also issued 28 free passes (five intentional). Minter has shown flashes of promise over the last three seasons. In 2017, as a 23 year old, Minter went his first 13 appearances (13 innings pitched) without issuing a walk. However, over the past two seasons, Minter is allowing four-and-a-half walks per nine and has posted a 4.47 ERA in his last 101 appearances. Harnessing command of his four seamer in 2020 could be huge to get him back on track. But for now, Minter remains in line to start the season at Triple-A Gwinnett.

Tyler Matzek – In camp as a non-roster invite, Matzek has made quite the impression over the last few weeks. In three appearances this Spring, Matzek has struck out seven of the 26 batters faced without issuing a single free pass in 3.2 IP. This time last year, Matzek was in camp on a Minor League deal with the Diamondbacks and would later end up playing Independent Ball with the Texas AirHogs of the American Association. After posting a 2.64 ERA with 53 strikeouts in 30.2 innings with the Hogs, Matzek’s contract was purchased by the Braves where he spent the final two months of the season between Mississippi and Gwinnett. Matzek is no stranger to Braves bench coach Walt Weiss, who managed him in 2014 and 2015 with the Rockies. While Matzek has shown to have pretty good command this spring, the club would need to open a spot on the 40 man roster if he was to break camp with the Big League club.

Grant Dayton – Originally an 11th round pick of the Marlins in the 2010 Draft out of Auburn, Dayton broke into the Big Leagues in 2016 with the Dodgers and was a waiver claim of the Braves back in November of 2017. We saw Dayton appear in 14 games from the Atlanta pen last season where he posted a 3.00 ERA and held lefties to a .250 average against. However, Grapefruit League play has not been kind to Dayton this year as he’s been touched up to the tune of a 12.71 ERA in five appearances with as many walks (three) as strikeouts.

Phil Pfeifer – The 27 year old product of Vanderbilt has very quietly put together a nice spring for himself. Appearing in six games from the Braves pen, Pfeifer is yet to allow a run and has allowed just four hits over five and two thirds innings of work. But the strikeout number is the most encouraging sign as Pfeifer has punched out nine batters and issued just one walk. Pfeifer spent time at three levels of the Braves Farm System last season, combining to post a 3.44 ERA in 30 appearances (18 starts) with 159 strikeouts in 133.1 innings of work. While Pfeifer was part of the latest wave of cuts on Wednesday morning, he certainly caught the eye of the Braves skipper, who said he could envision a scenario where the Braves use Pfeifer at some point here in 2020.

External help – We all know players have “out clauses” in their contracts and typically over the final two weeks of camp, we see guys get cut loose or walk on their own. I’d say there’s certainly a chance the other lefty from the pen on Opening Day isn’t even here as of yet. Much like Anibal Sanchez and Josh Tomlin joined the team in the final week of Spring, I could certainly see a situation where the club adds another veteran lefty to give them that extra depth in the bullpen to start the season.

Lone lefty – There’s also the possibility the club could enter the regular season with just Will Smith as the lone lefty. Fortunately, the club is in a good position where they don’t have any matchup guys. Their righties have track records of getting lefties out, so there’s definitely the possibility they could go with seven righties out of the gate. Either way, it’ll be a fun storyline to follow over the final two weeks from North Port!

@KevinMcAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and the @BravesRadioNet.

Braves Minor League Players To Watch In 2020


Atlanta Braves’ Bryce Ball follows through on a home run in the third inning of a spring training baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, in Sarasota, Fla. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

BY KEVIN MCALPIN
NORTH PORT, FL – Part of the fun of Spring Training every year is getting a chance to lay eyes on players we only follow from afar through box scores and game reports. So, for those across the Southeast that plan on taking in a game from one of Atlanta’s minor league affiliates, here’s a few names you should keep close tabs on in 2020…

Drew Waters: At just 21 years old, Waters has quickly rose through the Braves Farm System and is knocking on the door of being Big League ready. Waters split 2019 between AA and AAA, combining to hit .309 with a .360 OBP. The Woodstock, GA native was a second round pick of the club in 2017 and has shown the ability to play all three outfield spots here in Spring Training. A switch hitter, Waters finds himself among the Top 50 prospects in the game and should the Braves suffer a major injury in the outfield, Waters could be the next man up.

Cristian Pache: Much like Waters, Pache has been another fast mover through Atlanta’s rich farm system. We’ve seen Pache start in both CF (his natural position) and RF, though he didn’t look quite as comfortable in the corner. Defensively, I’ve had scouts tell me that he could start in the Big Leagues tomorrow. It’s his bat that the club would like to see catch up, as he hit just one home run following his promotion to AAA last season. I’ve also had a few folks tell me that he could eventually prove to be an even better defender than Ronald Acuña Jr.

Ian Anderson: Ranked among many publications as one of the top pitching prospects in baseball, Anderson has made a few appearances in Grapefruit League play. While it’s unrealistic to think he could move into the rotation in Atlanta to start the season, I wouldn’t rule out seeing Anderson get a call up within the next year. A first round pick of the Braves in 2016, Anderson finished 2019 with Gwinnett but posted a 6.57 ERA and struggled with his command, issuing 18 walks (to go with 25 strikeouts) in 24.2 IP. Thus far, through two spring appearances, Anderson has struck out four over 2.2 IP.

Shea Langeliers: A first round pick of the Braves in the 2019 Draft out of Baylor, Langeliers is another that could find himself on the fast track to Atlanta. Coaches have noted his arm, ability to call a game, pop time and of course power at the plate as reasons to believe Langeliers could be the long term solution behind the dish.

Bryce Ball: At 6’6, Ball flat out looks the part. A 24th round pick in last years Draft, Ball has shown that light tower power here in camp that we heard so much about last June. In 63 games last year at Dallas Baptist, Ball hit 18 homers in 228 at bats with a 1.057 OPS. Those numbers carried over to pro ball last year as he belted 17 more bombs in 62 games between Danville and Rome. Ball could prove to be a really nice late round steal for the club down the road, especially if the DH eventually comes to the National League.

So there you have it folks, just a few names to follow and go watch if you live anywhere near any of the Braves Farm teams across the Southeast!

@KevinMcAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and the @bravesradionet.